WorldWideWendy is two years old already, and has a lot of loyal followers, for which I thank you. Just like last year, 2018 flew by. Not only did I make lots of fun journeys to three different continents, I also spent the last few months exploring a new direction for my travel experience. And things have been set in motion! So stay tuned, more about all this at the start of 2019. Time for a look back over the past year.
The Netherlands: Amsterdam
The year took off with a citytrip to Amsterdam with my BFF Isabelle. We spoiled ourselves (We had something to celebrate but I do not remember what. All excuses are good.) and booked a room in the best-known hotel and ate at the hippest restaurant, Amstel Hotel en Mama Kelly.
The year got off to a good start with a fabulous journey to Bangkok. We stayed at the amazing Chakrabongse Villa, a boutique hotel. Over the course of a week, we discovered Thailand’s capital with its beautiful temples, and my husband could finally tick the bridge on the River Kwai off his bucket list. We went cycling with Co van Kessel, and discovered a whole different side of Bangkok away from the city centre. But we were most of all charmed by Thai cuisine. Wonderful colours, scents and tastes for very little money. We would definitely go back, even if it was only for the food.
The children wanted to stay home during the Easter break. And so a little sleepover party was organised with granny and grandad, which meant we could go for a turbo-break to India. In one week, we saw the ethereal Taj Mahal, three consecutive days of tigers in Ranthambore, and we went cycling in Jaipur. Beforehand I thought the cycling was a suicide mission really, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We stayed at wonderful Oberoi hotels, and were spoiled for a week. We enjoyed the most wonderful dishes, and avoided the Delhi belly! And although India was not high on our wish list, it conquered our hearts.
My mother celebrated her 65th birthday this year, and my sister and myself treated her to a weekend in Cologne. Of course, we visited Cologne Cathedral, reminisced thanks to Eau de Cologne 1477, and we shopped till we dropped. Cologne is less than two hours from where we live, so it is close enough to go visit again soon.
Our youngest son Gilles had his first Communion this year. Like his big brother he could pick a destination for a holiday. Lucca wanted to go to New York at the time, Gilles wanted to see the leaning tower of Pisa. The usual photos were taken, we had some ice cream and enjoyed the mother/son time. We also took the opportunity to visit Lucca, the town our oldest son was named after.
The annual girls-only getaway was on the calendar in June. This time, our destination was Antwerp, after our trips to Paris, Volendam and Loosdrechtse Plassen over the past years. The best city in Belgium is only a 45-minute drive away. We stayed in a cosy boutique hotel in the center of Antwerp. We discovered a different side to the city because of a walk through the ruien, Antwerp’s underground canals, and we ended the day with a very nice cruise on a salon boat.
Spain: San Sebastian
I have a lot of friends who love to travel, so Heidje and myself went to San Sebastian for a few days in July. We enjoyed our me-time, did a tour of the city by bike and tasted the most wonderful pintxos. San Sebastian is the place to be for foodies.
My sister and I took the kids on a cruise this summer. We arrived in Venice the day before departure, and we spent a few hours to show the children the highlights of this beautiful city. We discovered the Trulli houses in Bari, and learned that Mykonos was badly oversold. We were briefly on Crete and visited an aquapark in Corfu. We wandered over the city walls of Dubrovnik early in the morning, and got lost in the streets of the old city centre. We arrived back in Venice a week later. Ryanair then decided to go on strike, but luckily Condor brought us safely home.
Germany: Black Forest
My husband and myself made a short trip to Germany in August. We stayed in a fabulous wellness hotel in the Black Forest, and we visited some beautiful castles. Our neighbouring country really has a lot to offer.
United Kingdom: London
It was 16 years ago that I made my first city trip with my BFF Isabelle to London. So in 2018, many years later, we decided that it was about time to visit it again. We left the London sights for what they were, and focused on shopping, eating in unique restaurants and chatting. The perfect ingredients for recharging the batteries.
Spain: Costa Blanca
Our friends Joost and Catherine are busy building a luxury boutique hotel on the Costa Blanca. Villa Adelante will open her doors early 2019. We went for a sneak preview, and things were looking great. I am already looking forward to staying here someday. Our friends, like us, really appreciate good food, and so we went from one restaurant to the next, and rolled home after four days.
During the autumn break we went to Abu Dhabi with our son Gilles’ godfather and his family. We stayed in the desert for two days in the fairy-tale setting of the Qasr al Sarab. We all were entranced by the red sand dunes and the vastness of the landscape. We did some fantastic outings in a 4x4 and on the back of a camel. The sporty types tried sandboarding and the early birds enjoyed yoga atop a sand dune. After that we moved to the city, visited the Louvre and the beautiful white Sheikh Zayed Mosque before flying over the Gulf of Arabia during a tour in a RIB. We also managed a 1-day trip to Dubai and saw all the highlights.
We conclude our year on our favourite continent, Africa. We will travel to Gambia for a week to enjoy the sunshine and the nice food, and to have another taste of the African atmosphere.
2018 in numbers
While I’m writing all this, it looks as though I was never home. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many days we explored the world.
Number of countries: 11
Number of flights: 11
Number of hotels: 17
Number of days: 61
What's in store for 2019?
In contrast to other years, not a lot has been added to the calendar yet. We will return from Gambia at the start of January. In February we will visit the chilly Budapest. Our son Gilles will take part in a skating competition there, so we’ve decided to tack on a little city break.
I’m thinking of the USA for Easter. The nature reserves on the west coast are still on my wish list. But will we take a campervan or stay in hotels? Suggestions are welcome!
What's your next destination?